Rimersburg Woman Jailed on Felony Child Endangerment Charges
According to court documents, the New Bethlehem Borough Police Department filed the following criminal charges against 31-year-old Joann Marie Mansfield, of Rimersburg, on August 5:
– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3
– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1
The charges stem from an investigation initiated on July 29 regarding a reported unauthorized use of a motor vehicle involving Joann Mansfield.
According to a criminal complaint filed on August 5 by Chief Robert Malnofsky, Jr., of the New Bethlehem Borough Police Department, an investigation began on July 29 as a known man reported that on July 25 his girlfriend and the mother of his children, Joann Mansfield, took his car without permission. The victim went on to state that he attempted to contact Mansfield multiple times by phone and by text message, but she did not respond.
A “be on the lookout” (BOLO) was then issued for the vehicle.
Around 3:55 p.m. on July 29, Chief Malnofsky was contacted by a caseworker with Clarion County Children and Youth Services (CYS) who reported that the victim contacted them to tell them his children were missing. The victim had reported that Mansfield left with their children on July 25 and had not returned.
The caseworker indicated that there was a Permanency Review Order for the children, and the children are legally in the custody of Clarion County CYS. Chief Malnofsky informed the caseworker that the victim had reported the vehicle, and a BOLO had been issued, but the victim had not told police the children were taken.
He also related that the department would reach out to the Ridgway Borough Police Department to see if the vehicle was at an address the caseworker had related during the conversation.
Chief Malnofsky then contacted Elk County 9-1-1 to have an officer from the Ridgway Police Department call in regard to the BOLO for a vehicle possibly in their area at an address on Broad Street. Officer Shrefler returned the call and stated the vehicle was at the residence, but the children were not.
Shortly thereafter, Chief Malnofsky received a call from the Clarion-based State Police reporting Mansfield was at their barracks to get a Protection From Abuse order (PFA). However, the trooper who called reported her children were not with her.
Chief Malnofsky then received a call from the Ridgway Borough Police Department reporting that the children had been taken into protective custody. Officer Shrefler confirmed having the children and stated most of them did not have shoes and had not eaten. Officer Shrefler also noted two of the children were just in diapers and t-shirts.
According to the complaint, the children were found with a neighbor in the Ridgway area.
Sergeant Clark and Officer Smith were tasked with assisting in the transport of the children back to Clarion County for placement. They were released to the custody of Clarion County CYS.
The complaint notes that during the transport back to Clarion County, the oldest child talked to the officers about the places he stayed and the bed bugs. Sergeant Clark also reported seeing four marks on the child’s face that appeared to be bug bites.
On July 29, Chief Malnofsky requested a copy of the Permanency Review Order.
According to the complaint, the order showed that it was signed and dated May 24, 2019, by Clarion County Judge Arner, and stated the legal custody of the children remained with Clarion County CYS. In the Permanency Plan, both parents agreed to contact Clarion County CYS within 72 hours of any change of address or phone number.
The complaint notes that Mansfield also failed to keep a safe living environment for the children.
Chief Malnofsky interviewed two known individuals on July 30 regarding the children’s living situation. When asked about the bed bug problem, the individuals stated there are issues with them in the home, but they were using a spray to kill them.
According to the complaint, when asked about the care that Mansfield gave to her children, both individuals stated Mansfield depended on them to care for her children. One of the individuals noted that Mansfield did not make sure her one son got his medication and would constantly make the older children change the diapers of the younger children. They also noted that Mansfield takes the children out in filthy clothing.
The complaint notes that when asked about the medication, they showed Chief Malnofsky a bottle of medication that expired in February 2019 and said they didn’t know where the rest of the medication was located. The following day, one of the individuals found the rest of the medication and it was taken to Clarion County CYS.
On August 2, Chief Malnofsky received Officer Shrefler’s detailed incident report.
According to the complaint, Officer Shrefler reported that she went to a residence on Sherman Avenue, in Ridgway, on July 31, where she interviewed a known woman about the circumstances surrounding why she was caring for Mansfield’s children.
The woman stated Mansfield had been in Ridgway for about a week, staying in a camp in the Portland Mills area with three of the older children, while the two younger children were staying with another woman at night at a residence on North Broad Street. The woman reported that sometime on the afternoon of July 29, the three older children were dropped off at her house and a short time later, the two youngest children were also dropped off. There were no diapers or medication left with the children, the complaint notes.
Mansfield was arraigned on the charges at 7:20 p.m. on Monday, August 5, in Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller’s office.
Unable to post $5,000.00 monetary bail, she was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20, with Judge Miller presiding.
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